January 11, 2013

Getting “The Big Head.”

Fighting to stay grounded while taking off to new heights.

Oh, God, it’s happening: I can almost feel my forehead expanding.

That’s right…I’m getting “The Big Head.”

This has led to the conviction that I deserve to be compensated for my writing. What nerve, right?

Part of the shift has come from my success in securing an awesome—and paid—freelance gig. Rather than just enjoying my fortune, like the good American that I am, I have been craving more, more and maybe just a little bit more.

Because I, for the first time in my life, despite what L’Oreal has been trying to tell me for years, believe I’m worth it.

Also, I am insane and obsessed.

How did I go from the girl who was afraid to take the leap to a sleep-deprived harpy rubbing her hands together and muttering “Show me the money!” in a mere five months?

Well, ‘tis a bit of a mystery to me, too.

Surely, I was ready to break free from the bonds of piss-poor self-esteem; I’ve been longing to change the world while snubbing reality for, well, most of my life. I’m lucky to have a husband with a job plus a couple of kids who need a copilot to avoid nosedives (a good rationale for flexible employment).

Back when I was a young babe, I chose a joyless (for me) career path. I got my doctorate in school psychology and—while I’m mad about children and education—I can’t stand testing. I’d rather roll around on the floor with kids in yoga class than watch them squirm in their seats while I drill them and try to show no reaction to their responses.

Oh, and also?

I’m a writer. I’m ready to stop zigzagging and embrace my destiny. It’s time to pour my energy into one pitcher.

I’ll still teach yoga, volunteer and do whatever else brings me joy and into meaningful connection with others. But writing is going to be my focus now. My career path. The means by which I will be able to support and sustain my family should such a thing become necessary.

Sustainable. The word gives me chills. I know elephant has struggled to find this niche as Waylon has shared in his admirably transparent way. I believe we’ve got to find sustainability as individuals before we can provide sustenance to one another, let alone the world. And yet the converse rings true, too. We have to give before we can receive.

So, I’m pleased to hear that elephant has decided to pay some writers this year. Every little bit helps.

Still, I know it’s not all about the money. Sustainability requires a supportive system, a community of like-minded folks who buoy, inspire, challenge and care about one another.

That’s why I’m sticking around, even if my contributions never break the 1K mark. Even if I never see a cent. Because I am convinced that I am part of something sustainable and, somehow, that’s going to help sustain me.

And this enormous noggin of mine? I’m not too worried about it; life has a way of hammering it down to size.

There are always folks happy to remind me that I’m not God’s gift. And there are always mistakes.

As I was plotting world dominion, I received a note from a band director regarding a piece I had written about my son, whose Christmas present was a tenor sax. Admittedly, I was rushed when I searched for the French word that means the shaping of a musician’s mouth and convinced myself I had it right with “embrasure.”

I don’t know who hijacked Google but it’s now obvious that word has nothing to do with music. I was ready to engage my own embouchure to play ‘Taps” for my writing career when I realized that I hadn’t been demolished by this public humiliation. In fact, I could smile about it.


Certainly, I can learn from it. Rushing is no friend to the writer whose reputation hinges on the word but neither is blushing.

So, my head shrank a size or two.

My heart is exploding in my chest like the Grinch gone wild and I may still invest in a couple of new hats.

Happy writing, ele-friends.




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Assistant Ed: Wendy Keslick

Ed: Bryonie Wise


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